New Year Brings Big Gorge Wind

11pm Wednesday…

The sunshine has returned but so has the chilly Gorge wind.  Today the wind was just “average breezy”, but the next few days it’ll be a totally different story.


Strong high pressure develops east of the Cascades Thursday-Sunday.  That means the pressure difference from eastside to westside dramatically ramps up the next 24 hours.  East wind increases as well.  That wind rushes through the one near sea-level gap in the Cascades; the Columbia River Gorge.  That’s why it’s called a “gap wind”.  The peak of the wind seems to be centered on New Year’s Day.  How windy?


Those 65-80 mph gusts are for the usual windy places in the Gorge, not Crown Point.  Friday-Sunday should be 100+ mph days at Vista House.  It’ll be about 10 degrees colder than we typically see on these big wind days so you geeks headed out there better bundle up like you are in the Arctic!  In the metro area gusts 35-50 mph are likely Friday-Sunday from I-205 east.  Elsewhere, as always with a gap wind, the wind will be mainly light easterly, or at least less than 10 mph.

The WRF-GFS cross-section shows 50-60kt. wind just off the surface.  That’s just about the highest you ever see on these cross-sections:

The chart was slightly “windier” for the Veteran’s Day Windstorm in November 2014.

I missed today’s high temp forecast by 4 degrees…it was 44 instead of 40.  I should have known better, the first east wind day when cooler air arrives is usually warmer than expected.  Then things settle down and the inversion settles in.  Temperatures drop a few degrees on following days.  Sure enough I notice areas in the wind tonight are running 2-3 degrees cooler than last night at this time.  So not only will be it windier tomorrow in much of the metro area, but it’ll be cooler as well.  Brrr!

I’m taking tomorrow off, so stay warm and have a safe and happy New Year’s Eve!

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

54 Responses to New Year Brings Big Gorge Wind

  1. JohnD says:

    ‘Anyone know who/how often the “Forecast” scroll is updated on the Fox 12 Weather site? I used to assume it was Mark. ‘But not sure. It does seem to be updated occasionally/frequently. E.g. Upper 40’s forecast for this coming Tuesday! Really!?

  2. Lurkyloo says:

    Ugh! Wicked Wind of the East, I hate you!
    This is brutal, it literally makes my teeth ache. Erik, could I borrow the Dome?

  3. Made it up to 42 this afternoon after a low of 25. A beautiful day for me, as I’m well to the west of the Cascades so escaped any wind. Areas where the sun doesn’t reach aren’t melting during the day and are now very frosty for the most part, having had three nights of cumulative heavy frost, with a fourth night now underway. Took some good close-up shots of frosty grass and leaves this afternoon.

  4. Tyler Mode in Battle Ground says:

    First sunrise of 2016! It was amazing with the snow blowing off of Mt. Hood…

  5. WEATHERDAN says:

    The dp is in the upper teens tonight. A strong North wind of almost 20 MPH is blowing. The high tomorrow should be in the upper 30,s. Moisture is moving up from the South. It should arrive Saturday night. So we have a chance for a little snow. Most likely it would be just a few flurries or maybe a little light sleet or zr but the chance is there. It isn’t much but in this Winter we will have to take what we get. I hope you all had a happy New Year. Peace.

  6. Jeff says:

    Averages/extremes to date for the year 2015

    Average temperature 56.1°F (Warmest year on record)
    Average humidity 75%
    Average dewpoint 46.6°F
    Average barometer 29.987 in.
    Average windspeed 0.4 mph
    Average gustspeed 1.2 mph
    Average direction 305° ( NW)
    Rainfall for year = 51.850 in
    Maximum rain per minute 0.199 in on day 10 at time 20:31 month 10
    Maximum temperature 104.2°F on day 30 at time 17:06 month 7
    Minimum temperature 22.9°F on day 02 at time 05:38 month 1
    Maximum humidity = 100% on day 29 at time 16:26 month 12
    Minimum humidity = 10% on day 31 at time 23:59 month 12
    Maximum dewpoint = 68.1°F on day 27 at time 17:30 month 6
    Minimum dewpoint = 10.3°F on day 22 at time 6:24 month 2
    Maximum pressure = 30.567 in. on day 01 at time 00:01 month 12
    Minimum pressure = 29.189 in. on day 01 at time 16:12 month 12
    Maximum windspeed 10.4 mph from 135°( SE) on day 15 at time 14:49 month 3
    Maximum gust speed 35.7 mph from 113°(ESE) on day 09 at time 14:59 month 2
    Maximum heat index 99.9°F on day 30 at time 17:35 month 7

    Total Growing T-Sum= 9100.4°F
    Growing degrees days :1673.6 GDD
    Corn growing degrees days :6066.5 GDD
    Total windrun = 3258.6miles

    Record low wind chill temperature = 18.5 degrees at 05:02 on January 1st
    Record daily rain = 3.07” on December 07
    Record rain in 1 hour = 0.63” at 16:25 on October 31st
    Warmest day (6am to 6pm) = 97 on July 2nd
    Coldest night (6pm to 6am) = 26.6 on January 2nd
    Coldest day (6am to 6pm) = 33.5 on December 31st
    Warmest night (6pm to 6am) = 79.7 on June 27th

    Records since October 2008

  7. MasterNate says:

    OK, any bets on who commented the most for 2015? My money is on W7.

  8. Jeff says:

    Averages\Extremes for the month of December 2015

    Average temperature = 41.6°F
    Average humidity = 92%
    Average dewpoint = 39.3°F
    Average barometer = 29.927 in.
    Average windspeed = 0.6 mph
    Average gustspeed = 1.7 mph
    Average direction = 82° ( E )
    Rainfall for month = 17.362 in. (Wettest December on record!) December average is 6.88”
    Rainfall for year = 51.850 in. (Yearly average is 43.13”)
    Maximum rain per minute = 0.040 in on day 10 at time 07:13
    Maximum temperature = 61.4°F on day 08 at time 19:45
    Minimum temperature = 29.0°F on day 26 at time 07:28
    Maximum humidity = 100% on day 29 at time 16:26
    Minimum humidity = 65% on day 31 at time 14:21
    Maximum dewpoint = 58.2°F on day 08 at time 13:09
    Minimum dewpoint = 21.6°F on day 31 at time 23:50
    Maximum pressure = 30.57 in. on day 26 at time 03:30
    Minimum pressure = 29.19 in. on day 21 at time 13:02
    Maximum windspeed = 9.2 mph from 203°(SSW) on day 21 at time 13:39
    Maximum gust speed = 31.1 mph from 315°( NW) on day 21 at time 14:03
    Maximum heat index = 61.4°F on day 08 at time 19:45

    Avg daily max temp :46.2°F
    Avg daily min temp :37.8°F
    Total windrun = 408.3miles
    Frost days= 3

    Record low wind chill temperature = 19.0 on day 31 at time 22:25
    Record daily rain = 3.07” on day 07
    Record rain in 1 hour = .58” on day 07 at time 09:45
    Warmest day (6am to 6pm) = 59.2 on day 08
    Coldest night (6pm to 6am) = 32.8 on day 31
    Coldest day (6am to 6pm) = 33.5 on day 31
    Warmest night (6pm to 6am) = 57.9 on day 08

    Daily rain totals

    00.59 in. on day 1
    00.46 in. on day 2
    00.59 in. on day 3
    00.25 in. on day 4
    00.46 in. on day 5
    00.75 in. on day 6
    03.07 in. on day 7
    02.06 in. on day 8
    00.55 in. on day 9
    00.91 in. on day 10
    00.94 in. on day 11
    00.83 in. on day 12
    00.63 in. on day 13
    00.03 in. on day 14
    00.10 in. on day 15
    00.13 in. on day 16
    02.02 in. on day 17
    00.19 in. on day 18
    00.08 in. on day 19
    00.30 in. on day 20
    00.81 in. on day 21
    00.28 in. on day 22
    00.57 in. on day 23
    00.07 in. on day 24
    00.01 in. on day 25
    00.31 in. on day 27
    00.09 in. on day 28
    00.28 in. on day 29

    Records since October 2008

  9. Snow Maniac says:

    Does anyone know the highest wind gust at crown point today?

  10. WWM says:

    I was curious if anybody saw the northern lights the last few nights?

  11. runrain says:

    My annual no-one-wants-to-hear-it post. 65-70 here in Phoenix the next two days. Mornings are cool but sunny and light winds. Defrosting for a few days. As one ages, it almost becomes necessary!

  12. Frosty, clear, and 25 this morning. Widespread fog and low clouds have yet to develop.

    • I went out for a walk shortly after 8am,and saw some fog(mostly low level) in my neighbourhood. Very beautiful scenes for taking photographs with the sun shining through the thin fog and tree branches.

    • The strength (and vertical depth) of the offshore flow seems to be significantly higher than forecast. North Bend, WA is being hit by high winds this morning from outflow pouring through Snoqualmie Pass. That wasn’t in the forecast picture earlier this week.

      It’s having an effect even on places well west of the Cascades which are avoiding the winds; the additional ventilation provided by the offshore flow is keeping the low-level inversion dry and preventing widespread fog and stratus.

  13. Happy New Year! 21.5F here at 7:02 am. if that’s going to be the low for the day(and it might not), it will be the coldest temperature I’ve seen here since 2014!

  14. Washougal 1100ft says:

    Having a mild artic blast here have not made if obove freezing for 2 days now and down to 23 with the east wind ripping. Looks like we might have zr Sunday not two excited about.

  15. W7ENK says:

    Happy 2016, folks!!

  16. schmit44 says:

    12/31/2015 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:53 at Bullards Bridge( 23 ft) & Brookings (US 10(149 ft)
    Low: 39 at CW1063 Reedsport(0 ft)

    High:10 at CW0732 Seneca(4665 ft)
    Low: -17 at GERBER RESERVOIR (4890 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 42 degrees
    GERBER RESERVOIR (25/-17 ) (4890 ft )

  17. JohnD says:

    Most folks spend their New Years Eve at some gala event! This year we are at home (and darn proud of it-hehe!); nothing like taking a gander at the blog with a bit of the bubbly at hand!

    Hiked to the top of Hamilton Mtn. in the Gorge today. At 2500′ maybe a foot of snow there. Cold strong winds on the ridges going up. Fun but glad I had my “Microspikes”. Tricky traverses at times.

    I gather that most geeks/ upstream models foresee a bland heart of the winter/El Nino season. Too bad. I haven’t given up yet though!

    Happy New Year!

  18. Made it up to 41 here after a frosty 25 overnight. Now 34 and falling fast as the sun goes down. My coldest reading of the year today, I believe.

  19. BigBank Hank says:

    Wind event forecast bust…..

  20. 30.63 inches on my barometer at the moment.

  21. Boydo3 N. Albany says:

    Not a fun day on Santiam pass…

  22. Farmer Ted says:

    Paul D, how prophetic, of course we all are going to die.

  23. Tyler Mode in Battle Ground says:

    34 here but less than 2 miles south it is 21. East wind makes all the difference.

  24. 23.7F here at the moment, but sunrise is still a few minutes away, so I might yet get my coldest temperature of the year! Anyway, Happy New Year to all on this blog- may 2016 be much more peaceful than 2015. Take the opportunities you have to say something kind to someone.

  25. Tyler Mode in Battle Ground says:

    23.7 for a low in BG.

  26. schmit44 says:

    12/30/2015 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:54 at Gold Beach (US 1( 60 ft)
    Low: 42 at Port Orford(0 ft)

    High:12 at CW0732 Seneca(4665 ft)
    Low: -10 at CW0732 Seneca (4665 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 39 degrees
    Bly (OR 140 MP 5 (37/-2 ) (4350 ft )
    Beatty (34/-5) (4320 ft)

    Heaviest Rainfall:
    0.67″ at GREEN MOUNTAIN(3064ft)
    0.60″ at MT HOOD TEST SIT(5370ft)
    0.60″ at NORTH FORK(3060ft)
    0.53″ at BALD KNOB(3630ft)

  27. Paul D says:

    Almost first 🙂

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